LBSU Women's Volleyball Hosts Cal Poly, UCSB This Weekend
The Beach will look to improve its 3-3 home record with Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara in town this weekend.
Friday, Sept. 29
Long Beach State vs. Cal Poly
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Walter Pyramid
Live Stream | Live Stats | Listen | Tickets
Saturday, Sept. 30
Long Beach State vs. UC Santa Barbara
Time: 7 p.m. (ESPN 3)
Location: Walter Pyramid
WatchESPN | Live Stats | Listen | Tickets
LAST TIME OUT
The Beach opened Big West play on the road, splitting its first two conference matches against UC Riverside and CSUN. LBSU won a second straight five-set match over the Highlanders last Tuesday, then had a 1-0 lead slip away at CSUN in a 3-1 loss last Saturday night.
In the Riverside win, junior Megan Kruidhof set a new career high with 21 kills. She also added 11 digs to earn her third double-double of the season.
A total of five players had 10 or more digs against the Highlanders, led by 19 from sophomore libero Hailey Harward. Seniors Rachel Nieto and Alexis Patterson joined Kruidhof with 11 and freshman Radi Marinova had a career high with 10 in the win.
Things were a little tougher against CSUN, as LBSU couldn't maintain its pace from set one which included a .522 hitting percentage. Patterson had a balanced performance with 33 assists, 12 digs and four aces. That was good enough for her second double-double of the week and fourth of the season.
Kruidhof led the Beach with 17 kills on a .308 hitting percentage. Marinova was right behind her with a career-best 10 kills on .450 hitting. The Beach had nine service aces as a team, getting four from Patterson and three from Harward.
SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS
Cal Poly has gotten off to a terrific start to the season, going 13-2 with losses to No. 8 Washington and No. 14 Oregon. The Mustangs are rolling, with eight straight victories dating back to Sept. 8. During that eight-match stretch, Cal Poly has seven sweep wins, with the only non-sweep coming in a 3-2 win over No. 23 Wichita State.
The Mustangs are led by the highly talented Van Winden sisters. UCLA transfer Torrey Van Winden leads CP with 4.83 kills per set and a terrific .372 hitting percentage on the season. She is a two-time Big West Player of the Week this season, winning in consecutive weeks after her sister, Adlee, won the first honor of the season. Adlee is a strong player in her own right, averaging 3.87 kills and 2.51 digs per set. Experienced senior setter Taylor Nelson runs the show, leading the Big West with 12.23 assists per set to help the Mustangs hit a conference-best .315.
LBSU has won three in a row over the Mustangs, holding a 45-19 lead in the all-time series.
SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS
UCSB welcomed the beginning of conference play, after getting off to an 0-11 start to the year. The Gauchos won their non-conference finale over Eastern Kentucky, then picked up a pair of sweeps over UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton last weekend, putting together a three-match winning streak.
Sophomore OH Lindsey Ruddins is a special player for the Gauchos, leading the Big West with 5.63 kills per set, a mark that ranks second in the nation. She has 214 kills this season while Charlie Robinson, the player with the second-most kills, has just 82. Ruddins leads the nation with 14.24 attempts per set, and is coming off two dominant performances to win Big West Player of the Week. UCSB actually swept the weekly honors with junior libero Emilia Petrachi (5.02 digs/set) winning Defensive POW and MB Nicole Omwanghe claiming Freshman of the Week honors.
The Beach has won 11 in a row over Santa Barbara to lead 69-36 in the all-time series with the Gauchos.
A NEW ERA
For the first time in over three decades, there is a new head coach of the Long Beach State women's volleyball program. Former LBSU setter Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer has returned to the Beach as head coach, and is joined by her husband, associate head coach Matt Fuerbringer on the new coaching staff.
McKienzie-Fuerbringer won a national championship with Long Beach State in 1993, then returned as an assistant coach following an overseas playing career. She has previous assistant coaching experience at UCLA, where she helped the Bruins to a national championship in 2011.
Fuerbringer was a terrific player at Stanford, where he was a four-time All-American and the career kills leader for the Cardinal. He went on to a professional career indoors and on the beach before spending the last four years coaching with the US Men's National Team. Included in that stretch was a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Also new to the Beach is volunteer assistant coach Justine Wong-Orantes, who just completed a stellar career at Nebraska. Wong-Orantes was a two-time AVCA All-American libero for the Cornhuskers, starting all four years and winning a national championship in 2015. Mike Campbell remains on the coaching staff for his fourth season as assistant coach while remaining the head coach of LBSU's beach volleyball squad.
The Big West Preseason Coaches Poll had Long Beach State slated for a third-place finish in 2017, behind defending champion Hawai'i and Cal Poly.
Each of the top three teams in the poll received a first-place vote, with Hawai'i leading the way with six, followed by two for Cal Poly and one for LBSU.
WATCH & LISTEN
All of Long Beach State's non-televised home matches will be streamed live online and free of charge on BigWest.TV.
Every LBSU match, home and away, can be heard live on KBeach Radio. Listen in at KBeach.org or via the free KBeach Radio app.
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